November 27, 2011

The Hope of the Gospel

The hope of the gospel is transforming power beginning in the individual and moving outward to redeem marriages, families, communities, towns, and nations.

Scripture: Philippians 4:21-23

Sermon Notes:

  1. The heart of Paul's message is the glory of the gospel of Christ and the community life of love that the gospel creates.
  2. We're to emulate those saints ahead of us, living lives that reflect the gospel, participating in the power of resurrection life, giving of ourselves and our substance for the kingdom.
  3. Paul now ends the letter reflecting on the fruit of the gospel, the hope of the gospel, and the grace of the gospel.
  4. Despite his chains, Paul had a tremendous opportunity for the gospel in Caesar's household.
  5. Paul's letter reflects the depth of his love for the church. He was not a passionless apostle (cf. Acts 20:37).
  6. Paul wants all the individuals in the church to receive his greeting personally.
  7. In Christ, we in the church now have a covenantal relationship to God which Israel enjoyed (cf. Exodus 19:6).
  8. All believers are saints, that is, set-apart holy ones in Jesus. This is all by the grace of God.
  9. To be a saint is not based on human attainments – it doesn't mean we are better equipped, more righteous or more useful to the kingdom of God in an of ourselves – we are set apart as saints by grace alone.
  10. We are the treasure of God if we are righteousness “in Christ”
  11. The fruit of the gospel is that we are in Christ. We are the fruit of the gospel (cf. James 1:18)
  12. God calls out a community of believers who are joined in covenant to God and to one another.
  13. As a community, as a church family, we're to greet one another.
  14. Paul wants to build a sense of unity among the churches.
  15. “All the saints greet you”: We need to foster unity and to shun silly and stupid divisions based on a party spirit and false pride.
  16. Paul was able to receive guests and to preach the gospel powerfully from prison (cf. Acts 28:30-31).
  17. There is a socio-cultural and political dimension to the kingdom of God as reflected in Paul's declaration of Jesus as both Lord and Messiah (kurios christos) (cf. Acts 4:12; 28:31; Phil 4:23).
  18. The imperial power cannot chain the gospel; members of even Caesar's household gave their allegiance to Jesus as Lord even as the government persecuted the church.
  19. The same Lord, the same Christ, the same Holy Spirit are at work in our world today, despite the problems around us.
  20. The gospel changes things, transforming and bringing about reconciliation and restitution of all things in Christ.
  21. There are individuals and whole towns out there waiting for the declaration and application of the redemption of Christ.
  22. The Church in Toronto has a lot to answer for in its failure to live out the gospel.
  23. In just fifty years, a rural gospel ministry in Galilee was transformed into a world-changing urban movement.
  24. The power of early-church Christianity delivered potent antidotes to life's misery here and now.
  25. The hope of the gospel is transforming power beginning in the individual and moving outward to redeem marriages, families, communities, towns, and nations.
  26. Paganism cannot generate the commitment to benevolence needed to transform the effects of sin and rebellion in society.
  27. The grace of Christ is revealed in Philippians 2:6-8.
  28. Though Christ was rich, he became poor to make us rich.

Application Questions:

  1. In your own words, what are the primary themes Paul develops in his letter to the Philippians?
  2. What is it that qualifies us to be called “saints” in Christ?
  3. How is personal relational concern a necessary compliment to faithful teaching and powerful gospel ministry? (See v21a).
  4. In what ways can we contribute to unifying the church in its mission and avoiding petty divisions and distractions?
  5. What were the socio-cultural and political implications of Jesus being Lord for the early church? What about for us today?
  6. How is the humility of Christ a model for our lives and ministry?
  7. How is Christ calling me to apply His antidotes to the present-day problems in the world?
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